How to Become a Postmaster: Salary and Career Facts

A postmaster is the person in charge of a U.S. post office or network of post offices. Discover how to embark on a postal career and work your way up to a postmaster position. Learn more about the duties and responsibilities of postmasters, and check out how much they typically earn.

How Can I Become a Postmaster?

According to announcements of new postmasters released by the United States Postal Service (USPS), there is no formal path to becoming a postmaster (www.usps.com). In most cases, you can work your way up through the ranks of a post office. The USPS primarily promotes from within; therefore, you may need to start in an entry-level role - such as letter carrier, mail processor or clerk - and seek promotions over time. You may then work as a supervisor of a department within a post office, such as customer service.

What Might the Job Entail?

As a postmaster, it's your responsibility to manage the operational and administrative aspects of a U.S. post office or group of post offices. The efficient and expedient processing of incoming and outgoing mail will be supervised and directed by you. When new postal services become available or postal laws and policies change, you'll make announcements and ensure compliance.

Your job will also include hiring, training and developing post office staff and letter carriers. Other administrative tasks that fall under your purview include the overall financial operations of the post office, from collecting rents for post office boxes to controlling costs. Additionally, you'll be in charge of resolving conflicts ranging from employee labor disputes to customer grievances.

What Training Will I Need?

There is no specific degree or training program required for you to become a postmaster; however, many postmasters pursue an internal training program offered through the USPS called the Associate Supervisor Program (ASP). Requiring 16 weeks of study, ASP includes both classroom-based and on-the-job training. You'll learn the technical and managerial skills that are useful for the postmaster role. While an ASP trainee, the USPS will assign you a coach to guide you through the program while planning your future career.

What Is the Outlook and Salary?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 25,600 postmasters and mail superintendents in 2008, with that number expected to drop swiftly by 2018 (www.bls.gov). As of 2009, O*Net reported a median salary for postmasters of $58,770 per year, which breaks down to $28.26 per hour (online.onetcenter.org).

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